Emergent (software)

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Screenshot ve arm.png
A robotics simulation utilizing the Open Dynamics Engine
Original author(s) Carnegie Mellon University
Developer(s) University of Colorado at Boulder
Stable release 7.0.1 / August 25, 2014 (2014-08-25)
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Neural network software
License GPL
Website Emergent homepage

Emergent (formerly PDP++) is neural simulation software that is primarily intended for creating complex, sophisticated models of the brain and cognitive processes, but can also be used for any task to which neural networks are suited. It is currently in the 7.x series of releases. Development initially began in 1995 at Carnegie Mellon University, and as of 2014, continues at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The 3.x release of the software, which was known as PDP++, is featured in the textbook Computational Explorations in Cognitive Neuroscience.


Emergent features a modular design, based on the principles of object-oriented programming. It runs on Microsoft Windows, Darwin / Mac OS X and Linux. C-Super-Script (variously, CSS and C^C), a built-in C++-like interpreted scripting language, allows access to virtually all simulator objects and can initiate all the same actions as the GUI, and more. Version 4 and upward features a full 3D environment for visualizations, based on Qt and Open Inventor. Realistic robotics simulations are made possible by integration with the Open Dynamics Engine. A plugin system allows for expanding the software in many ways. Version 5 introduced parallel threading support, numerous speed improvements, a help browser featuring an interface to the project's Wiki and auto-generated documentation, undo and redo using diffs and a definable undo depth, and many other improvements. In addition, 5.0.2 introduced a built-in plugin source code editor, and plugins can now be compiled from the main interface, enabling full development of plugins within Emergent.

Emergent also provides an implementation of Leabra which was developed by Randall C. O'Reilly in his PhD thesis.[1]

See also[edit]


  • Aisa B; Mingus B; O'Reilly RC (October 2008). "The Emergent neural modeling system". Neural Networks 21 (8): 1146–1152. doi:10.1016/j.neunet.2008.06.016. ISSN 0893-6080. PMID 18684591. 
  • O'Reilly, Randall; Munakata, Yuko (2000). Computational Explorations in Cognitive Neuroscience: Understanding the Mind by Simulating the Brain. The MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-65054-1. 
  • Rumelhart, David (1986). Parallel Distributed Processing: Explorations in the Microstructure of Cognition : Foundations. The MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-18120-7. 


  1. ^ http://psych.colorado.edu/~oreilly/pubs-abstr.html#OReilly96phd